Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, Olympia

4.9
#7 of 17 in Parks in Olympia
Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a natural reserve in Olympia, Washington protected under the Washington Natural Areas Program. Once an important processing facility for the logging industry, it has been designated as the Weyerhaeuser South Bay Log Dump Rural Historic Landscape. Today the area is a renowned sanctuary for a variety of birds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, and a colony of bats, as well as serving as an important great blue heron rookery. A recent conservation program in the area between the State of Washington and the Nature Conservancy is the first of its kind in the country.
American Indians use of the area dates back over 5,000 years when the present coast line stabilised. Euroamerican settlement began in the 1850s with Puget Sound's logging era. Early in the history of the area, the Woodard family built the railway for hauling logs down to the waterfront. From there they would load it on ships at the end of the peninsula.
In the 1920s the site was bought by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, which brought up to 1 million board feet of timber here annually by rail from all over Thurston and Lewis counties until it closed the site in 1984. A former logging railroad crosses Woodard Bay on a wooden trestle and a narrow peninsula. It runs out onto a pier in Henderson Inlet across the mouth of Chapman Bay. Here logs were dumped in the water, gathered into rafts and floated to mills in Everett, Washington.
To visit Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area and other attractions in Olympia, use our Olympia vacation website .
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Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
36 reviews
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  • Woodard Bay is my absolute favorite local nature spot. There are always eagles, heron, seals, fungi and so much more to see. It’s quite a tranquil spot.  more »
  • I could spend hours scouring that beach. The sun peeked out for us and it was gorgeous. Lots of old logs and chains to photograph.  more »

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2 days in Tacoma BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Olympia BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 52 days in Washington State BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 18 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy 8 days in Seattle BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced
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